Traveling on Bicycle to the Land of our Ancestors
Hollmann, August and Veronika. "Traveling on Bicycle to the Land of our Ancestors." Mitteilungsblatt, October 2010, 6.
Translation from the original German-language text to American English is provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, CO.
A few years ago Veronika Hollmann, daughter of Franziska and Max Riehl of Koblenz, got the idea of traveling to Kransa [in the former Bessarabia] by bicycle, accompanied by her husband, August. The idea eventually grew into a concrete plan.
The distance was managed in three stages: stage one in 2008, from Koblenz on the Rhine to Regensburg along the Main and Danube (776 kilometers [ca. 465 miles]; the second stage in 2009, from Regensburg along the Danube to Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, and Serbia, all the way to Belgrade -- a distance of 1468 kilometers [ca. 880 miles]; and concluding with the final stage of 1350 kilometers [just over 800 miles] from July 28 to August 14, 2010. The bicycles had been transported to Belgrade by plane. From there the trip continued through Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, into Ukraine and, finally, to Krasna.
There, some village residents very warmly received August and Veronica on August 9. Then it was on to the chapel and to the devastated cemetery, there to light a candle in memory of the ancestors. Only two days had been planned for the Krasna stay, so that many dinner invitations from Krasna citizens had to be turned down.
After two days a brief sea vacation in Odessa was tacked on, and from there the return trip took place by air.
It was an exciting trip with many deep insights. Any morning, the two never knew where they would sleep that night or what the day might bring.
They were especially impressed by the Hungarian cuisine, and the hospitality, openness and eagerness to learn of the Serbian residents. Very impressive, too, was where the Danube breaks through the so-called Iron Gate. In Romania the wide landscape, Wallachia, and varying cultures made the greatest impressions on the two bikers. All the meetings with other people and interactions with them made this unique trip unforgettable.
Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of these articles.